The Office-Driven Life
Spring is quickly turning into summer up here in the Northern Hemisphere. And like the explosion of new summer growth all around us now, we are seeing all sorts of new software blooming. For instance, this is the first MSDN Magazine Editor's Note written with 2007 Microsoft Office system Beta 2 on Windows Vista Beta 2. The research is being conducted with Internet Explorer 7.0 Beta 2—and on a Tablet PC, no less. We even had the Treo 700 fired up there for a while (and running Windows Mobile 5.0—alas, released software, not beta), but the wonderful program (PDANet) that lets it double as a laptop modem doesn't yet have Vista drivers.
If you give the magazine's cover a scan before opening it up each month, you'll see that this is our first deep dive into the 2007 Office system. Beta 2 has been released, and you don't even need to be an MSDN or TechNet member to download it. There has been a lot of coverage of the new UI in the 2007 release. While usability is a key element of this release, the real excitement (for us) is what's under the covers.
The 2007 Office release is expanding the limits of what applications can be created in conjunction with its familiar apps. There are a few key areas where the Office package has become more of a development platform.
The default document file format for Office uses the Open XML standard. If you are developing an app that reads or writes an Office file, you won't have to take stabs at a binary file format. This makes your life a lot easier because the .NET Framework has all sorts of XML readers and writers—you just need to know which tags and elements you want.
Although Office is thought of as a desktop-only suite, the upcoming version will extend to the server in several places (SharePoint, Project, and lightweight Excel Services, for instance) in such a way as to improve collaboration.
The RibbonX API is your way into the new Ribbons that are the default UI experience in the 2007 Office system. Menus are on their way out, replaced with context-sensitive choices that change as you work. You'll be hearing a lot about the Ribbon in the next few months. A LOT. Everyone sitting nearby is hearing a lot about it from us, and we're only in Beta 2.
In this month's issue, we will take a broad look at Office as a development platform. From there, we will drill down into three additional areas of interest. Ted Pattison looks at MOSS, Microsoft Office SharePoint Services 2007. We also look at InfoPath 2007, the forms engine that will give programmers the ability to improve the user experience of their Office-based apps.
We also take an introductory tour of VSTA, which is not the OS we are beta testing, but Visual Studio Tools for Applications. VSTA lets you add extensibility into your own applications. Don't confuse it with Vista; as our high-school math club coach once told us, "There's no I in VSTA."
Behind the scenes, we also have some good news to report. Kerry Gates, who has been our publisher for years now, is moving on at CMP Media. She has taken on a new role as Vice President at the company! At the same time we welcome our new publisher, Jill Thiry. Jill has had many roles in the world of tech media, including a stint as publisher of Network Computing magazine. Good luck, Kerry, and welcome to the family, Jill!
Finally, we were hoping to have coverage of a special event this month. Stephen Toub is the technical editor responsible for the content you see in MSDN Magazine
each issue. After putting together this blockbuster August issue, he sped off to get married to Tamara, his college sweetheart. We were hoping we'd have photos back in time to print them this month, but the wedding WAS just yesterday and Steve might be thinking about other things besides his coworkers back home. We hope to bring you more hard-hitting coverage of this event in a future issue. Meanwhile, you can send Steve your best wishes at firstname.lastname@example.org
Thanks to Thanks to the following Microsoft technical experts for their help with this issue: Simon Calvert, Nikola Dudar, Joe Duffy, John Gossman, Martin Gudgin, Jim Johnson, Doug Purdy, Andy Rich, Arpan Shah, Pat Styles, and Maura Van Der Linden.
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